City of San Diego has Multi-billion Dollar Infrastructure Backlog

Written by William Hale

San Diego does not have the money needed to meet the city’s infrastructure needs. After a multi-year comprehensive analysis of San Diego’s available assets, the city estimates that $4.12 billion will be required in order to sufficiently fund infrastructure projects over the next five years. 

Several factors have contributed to this infrastructure backlog, the most prominent being the aging post war infrastructure built during San Diego’s growth spurt in the 50’s and 60’s. “There were so many more assets built in the 1950s and 1960s than there were before that period of time, and those assets are now coming due — they are reaching the end of their useful lives,” said San Diego’s public works director James Nagelvoort. 

Increased regulation has also boosted infrastructure costs, Nagelvoort said the city has polished its requirements for waterways, flooding prevention, and ensuring “seismically sound” buildings.

President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill has a number of implications for San Diego’s funding shortage. Of course, some of that federal money will be allocated to San Diego’s bridges, roads, sewer mains and storm drains, but the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” will simultaneously spark demand for contractors, in turn boosting labor cost.

“This is the single largest investment I’ve ever seen by the federal government…it’s a phenomenal opportunity, but it doesn’t necessarily solve all problems,” said Nagelvoort.

Most San Diegans know by now that bumpy roads and inconsistent traffic are essentially commonplace, and while the San Diego Tribune reports that $322 million is the funding gap dedicated to “streets,” perhaps the bipartisan infrastructure bill will help cover the cost. 

Photo Cred: Zoë Meyers/ KPBS